This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on November 28, 2022 - December 4, 2022
S BC Corp Bhd has planned two project launches for next year, following the country’s transition to the Covid-19 endemic phase. According to managing director Datuk Sia Teong Heng, the two projects are Phase 2 of Jesselton Quay in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, and Phase 2 of Kiara East in Kuala Lumpur. Both projects are yet to be named.
Phase 2 of Jesselton Quay, which has a gross development value (GDV) of RM250 million, will be a serviced suite development on a 1.5-acre lot. A two-bedroom unit will be priced from RM800,000.
Sia says that Phase 1 of Jesselton Quay is a mixed-use development with Airbnb-styled units, a hotel and a shopping mall. Every component, except for the hotel, has been completed.
Phase 2 of Kiara East, meanwhile, will consist of two residential towers with a total GDV of RM300 million. Each tower will have 297 units sized from 653 to 1,020 sq ft. These will be priced from RM360,000 to RM588,000. The first phase, Dex Suites, was completed five years ago.
This year, SBC Corp also unveiled 6Kapas in Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar. It is an exclusive condominium project in Jalan Kapas, Bangsar, with only 19 units in two blocks on a one-acre site. Each floor will have only one unit.
Tower A has 10 units with built-ups of 4,300 sq ft, priced at RM6.5 million each. The nine units in Tower B have built-ups of 3,700 sq ft and are selling for RM5.5 million. While the developer has not launched the development, the first unit was sold in September 2020. Thus far, all units but one in Tower B and four in Tower A have been sold. The development was completed in April 2022.
The difference between Tower A and Tower B is that Tower A units have a KLCC view, a dedicated area for a show kitchen, a media home theatre and a vestibule.
Both layouts have four en suite bedrooms and four parking bays, as well as a fully fitted wet kitchen and marble tiled flooring.
“There is a need in the market for such properties and that is how we differentiate the product. People we talk to want a product like this, they want an exclusive product like this. We could have just put in one tower and increased the number of floors. [However,] because of the characteristics of the area, we decided to do two towers and make it more exclusive,” Sia tells City & Country in an interview.
“Secondly, the residents don’t have neighbours so they can open all their windows for better ventilation. Our target market is those aged in their mid-40s and above who are more concerned with their health and lifestyle.”
He adds that the one unit per floor layout allowed the developer to experiment with different new designs, such as putting a lanai within the unit. It also decided not to have huge master bedrooms so as to create a cosier environment.
Sia says some of the condominiums have a view of KLCC, while other units have a view of tranquil Kiara Hill.
He believes the developer has ticked all the boxes as 6Kapas has received an overwhelming response without an official launch and despite its high price point.
“We try to discover what people want … There are people who don’t want to live in bungalows; they’ll sell their properties and move into condos. It’s a change of lifestyle and that’s what we think and how we approach the project,” he says.
“We believe owners here want to have their own style and do their own renovations. If they want us to do renovations for them, we can customise for them too. The survey so far indicates that the owners want to do their own renovations.”
Clear on what its target market wants, SBC Corp did not try and maximise the number of units in 6Kapas. With just 19 units, it is an exclusive development for those who might not want to maintain a bungalow but who want a large space.
The units have a maintenance fee, including sinking fund, of 40 sen psf. Sia notes that with only 19 owners, it is easy for them to discuss how best to make use of the money.
“Many developments place the swimming pool right in front because it looks good. But we partially covered the 25m lap pool to restrict the view from the outside and enable it to be used during rain. I believe our owners here want privacy and don’t want to be seen when they swim. We don’t use the pool as an architectural feature and are practical,” he adds.
Sia says that SBC Corp will have two to three projects a year. “We look at fresh projects, but we carry on with existing [ones] first and don’t get distracted. We have to do our homework for new projects and be guided by demand. We have never done a lot at one time.
“Post-pandemic, I think people are more ready to buy and invest. The cost structure is going up and people know that once the existing stock runs out, the price will move up. It may not go too high but it definitely will move upward. When the price goes up, the demand will be more realistic.”
In terms of land bank, SBC Corp has 800 acres near Genting, 20 acres in the Klang Valley and 15 to 20 acres in Kota Kinabalu, with a total GDV of around RM4 billion.
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